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To learn more about whether or not you will be responsible for paying your child’s college tuition after your divorce, continue reading and reach out to our skilled Bergen County divorce attorney today.

What are New Jersey’s child emancipation law modifications?

Since February 2017, a new law was passed to supply more transparency on New Jersey’s emancipation laws. In the state of New Jersey, a child is automatically deemed emancipated upon the child’s nineteenth birthday unless:

  • The child is still in high school, attends a vocational or technical school, or is enrolled full-time in a college undergraduate or graduate program.
  • The child suffers from an established mental or physical disability that demands ongoing aid.
  • A current child support order sets a certain age or cut-off date.

How do New Jersey courts determine parent college tuition responsibilities?

Most divorce settlement agreements contain some language that manages college decisions and payments and most say that both parents have some sort of financial responsibility to pay for college. College tuition responsibilities are completely different from child support.

The exact amount that a parent will be required to pay towards their child’s college tuition is usually estimated at the time a college is chosen and is founded upon both parents’ salaries at that moment. Usually, it is never a good idea to decide on a straight 50/50 split of college tuition at the time of divorce, especially if your children are very young. This is because you may not know your financial future.

In some circumstances, parents may be able to come to an agreement over college cost-sharing on their own out of court, typically with the help of their attorneys or a mediator. When college tuition matters end up in court, a judge will evaluate a parent’s contribution toward the cost of higher education by looking at a number of different factors. Some of these factors include:

  • The amount of the assistance sought by the child for the cost of higher education;
  • The outcome of the background, values, and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;
  • Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;
  • The ability of the parent to pay that cost;
  • The relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;
  • The financial resources of both parties;
  • The commitment and aptitude of the child for the requested education; and
  • The financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust.


If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in the state of New Jersey, you need an experienced attorney on your side who is ready to help you through every step of the legal process going forward. Contact the legal team at McNerny & McAuliffe today. Our firm is also experienced in handling legal matters relating to divorce, family law, personal injury law, and more. We are here to help–all you have to do is ask.

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